NEW DELHI, March 15 - In a major relief to the Editor and the publisher of The Shillong Times, the Supreme Court today stayed the order passed by the Meghalaya High Court against the duo in a contempt of court case. The Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna today stayed the order of the Meghalaya High Court, which had also found two journalists of The Shillong Times guilty of contempt of court.
The Meghalaya High Court had held The Shillong Times Editor, Patricia Mukhim, and publisher Shobha Chaudhuri guilty of contempt of court and asked them to pay a fine of Rs 2 lakh.
The CJI-led Bench also issued a notice to the Registrar General of the High Court on the Special Leave Petition filed by the journalists against the HC order.
In the petition in the Supreme Court, Mukhim and Chaudhuri stated that the report (published in The Shillong Times) was a �fair and accurate reporting� of the court proceedings. They also contended that the order suffered from �manifest perversity�, and that the sentence passed was �manifestly arbitrary�, as the fine of Rs 2 lakh exceeded the maximum fine of Rs 2,000 imposable under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act. They also alleged that proper procedure was not followed while passing the order. The notice served on them was for civil contempt; however, criminal contempt action was taken against them, they contended.